Monday, October 28, 2013

When Was the Last Time?

So have a good cry, wash out your heart
If you keep it inside it'll tear you apart
~ Dr. Hook, “Better Love Next Time”

Are you harming yourself by what you hold inside? 

Photo Credit: Bart Everts, Flickr

I truly believe many people are not at the place of spiritual, emotional or mental health that God has for them because they do not regularly release their emotions.

God isn’t afraid of our tears. Psalm 56:8 says: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

Jesus wept (John 11:35) and the Bible gives instruction that those who sow in tears will reap in joy. (Psalm 126:5)

Apparently, to reap in joy -- tears are required at times.

Some questions to think about…

Why do we often try to suppress our tears?

What is there to be gained by holding our tears inside?

When’s the last time you’ve let the tears flow and didn’t try to hold them back?

Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is have a good cry.

I love you, ladies...

~Pastor Deanna


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are You Trying Harder, or Trusting More?

Today's post comes from my message last night in Fusion service at Celebration. If you weren't there, this is part of what you missed. 

Perhaps you keep trying over and over with certain things in your life and still, you cannot break through. It may be that you are trying to reach a goal or break an addiction, and you keep falling.

I understand.

What’s the difference between trying and trusting?

Let’s talk about these two different roads:

 Galatians 3:2
“Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.”

Paul asked a question he already knew the answer to. He knows they received the Spirit when they believed. 

The law only points out what is right and wrong, but provides no solution. Faith, however, leads to salvation. 

Galatians 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

What was their goal? Salvation. 

More Than Heaven & Hell 

Salvation is not just about a future. It’s about our lives being transformed here and now. It's about having a close relationship with one who loves us more than anyone ever has or will. 

Romans 2:4 says it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance. God’s desire is a close relationship because we are wooed by His love, not simply that we fear what will happen.

I had a close relationship with the Lord from the time I was young, however it took time for me to understand the concept of serving Him in love. For some time, I simply feared being left behind if I didn't measure up. Then I realized how passionately Jesus loves me, and it changed my life and my thoughts in this regard.

There are two paths we can take: trying by Human effort or trusting in the power of the Spirit. 

The job is too great to be done by me--that’s why Christ died to pay the price for my sin. If I could do it on my own, Jesus wouldn’t have needed to die. 

Photo Credit: MarkBaird, Flickr
Are you a rowboat or a sailboat?

A rowboat is dependent upon human effort. You have to keep rowing to keep it going. A sailboat is moved by the wind. The power of the wind moves the boat. It is still entirely necessary for the boat to move, but the power source of the sailboat is the wind.

We try to do so much WITHOUT GOD!
This is why we keep falling.

Preaching often focuses on, “You need to do this and you need to do that.” Many times sermons are simply a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts. It seems to be all about what we can attain with our human effort if we just try harder.

Everything from, “You need to stop wearing low cut blouses,” to “You need to stop sleeping around,” to “You should pray more.”

During these kind of messages, I think, “Why don't we teach the people who God is, and let them understand the heart and the character of God, and fall totally head over heels…madly in love with Him?” 

When we are head over heels in love with Jesus, we don’t want to wear a low cut blouse.
We don't want to sleep around.
We want to be in constant communication with Him.

When a person knows God intimately and understands who He is and what He has done and can do and will do and wants to do…it rocks their world. They can’t help but change. Their desires and habits change, through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through shaming.

A sermon telling people how much they aren’t doing, how much more they need to do, tends to just leave one feeling like they will never measure up.

Guess what – in and of myself, I will never measure up.


Because I will never measure up.

It’s not about trying harder, it’s about surrendering more!

Moral people make choices out of fear of rejection.
Christians make choices because we know we’re accepted. 

Does that mean obedience to the Word is unimportant or that God has no standards for his children? No. But, we must be clear in our understanding that it is not our obedience that makes us His children, but His grace, mercy and forgiveness.   

The more we get to know Him, the more we want to change and the more we do change.

Galatians 3:10-14
 “But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law. So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life. This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, It is through obeying the law that a person has life. But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith.”

The promise for those who are trying by their own strength to measure up to God’s requirements is a curse. 

Does that mean the Law is bad? No. 
The Law shows our need for God’s grace. 

But the law required more than we could do, and incurs a curse if not rigidly followed forever. And the law itself has the ability to make us want to disobey.

Exactly what you’re told you can’t do is what you want to do.

Admit it.

If you go on a diet where you can’t have pasta, then pasta is what you want. 

The law itself makes us want to be disobedient, and this is a part of its curse.

The blessing of Salvation is that Jesus Christ bore the curse himself and paid the price to set us free from sin’s punishment and bondage.

Today you may be struggling with many things. 

Perhaps you are angry with yourself for falling time and again. You feel condemned for what you are doing or not doing, or perhaps even what you are addicted to.  You keep falling and getting up and trying harder and harder, and still it’s not working.

Get to know God. 
Really know Him.

Knowing Him for who He is and coming close to Him will give you a drive to not want to do those things any more, and furthermore the power to change.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

An Interview with Christina Sotomayor

Here at Celebration Women we will be doing periodic interviews to introduce some of the amazing women who make up Celebration Church. Our first woman to be interviewed is Christina Sotomayor -- someone who very recently became part of Celebration Church and said, "Yes" to Jesus!  

Celebration Women: Christina, it's an honor to introduce you here on the blog today. We want to start by asking --when was your first time coming to Celebration Church or to a Celebration Women's Event?

Christina:  My First experience was the last Chick Chat that Pastor Deanna hosted. My friend Emilie Currie (soon-to-be Shrodes ) was telling me about her church. She thought I would enjoy it.

Celebration Women: What did you experience your first time? 

Christina: I remember thinking, "Wow, this isn't what I expected." In a good way of course. Mainly because it wasn't overly religious, in-your-face kind of way. I got to learn about a brave adoptee's life and many things I didn't not know about adoption. I immediately began to read Pastor Deanna's blog on Adoptee Restoration about her story. I was hooked.

Celebration Women: What drew you back?

Christina:  I wanted to know the rest of the story! Growing up, I have always been hesitant when it came to new churches because you never know what kind of messages they're sending and if your beliefs will be accepted. I knew from the first night that whatever secrets I may have had could be accepted and that I could let them go. One thing I learned on my first night was that we need more people to respond with not just "What are your going to do?" but "How can I help you?"

Celebration Women: When did you say "Yes" to Jesus, and what was that like? 

Christina: I said "Yes" on September 22nd. My faith was being tested and I had been holding in my emotions for far too long. My father has an illness that can only be fixed with surgery. Within minutes of being at church, I broke down. After listening to Ed and Kristy Frost's story that same day, it really hit close to home. So many things that they discussed were things I had been experiencing with my dad. I then realized that I needed to trust in God and that I needed to not only be strong for my father, but be strong for myself.

Celebration Women: What has your experience been like ever since?

Christina: My experience has been life changing. I almost feel lighter. I've gained new friends and new family by heart. I'm surrounded by those who want to learn just as much as I do. I'm looking forward to what God has in store for me.

Celebration Women: We are so blessed to have you in the Celebration Family, Christina! We love you.